It’s a story I have heard a hundred times: “I want to get in shape so I’ll join a gym and start lifting some weights”. Well that’s fantastic but why are you lifting weights? It’s all well and good to get into the gym, but did you know that the number of sets, repetitions and type of exercise you do will alter the results you are going to get?
While there are many different variations on the type of resistance training you can do, we are just going to focus on four of them: strength, hypertrophy, power, and strength endurance. This article is only a generic guide and there will be some variations needed for more advanced trainers, but have a look at these guidelines to help get you on your way.
Strength Training involves lifting very heavy weights for only a few repetitions, usually around five. This will require you to produce a maximal amount of force for a minimal period of time. This is very effective for increasing pure strength, but does not necessarily produce the best results for increasing muscle size. Try and keep your set numbers to four to maximise your strength gains.
Hypertrophy training is focused on increasing the size of your muscles. The recommended repetition amount is 10. This rep range provides your muscles with the optimal time under tension required to damage your muscle fibres, allowing them to repair bigger and stronger. Exercises can be performed in sets of three to give you the best muscle growth and development.
Power training should only be considered by people who have a solid history of regular resistance training. The explosive movements required to train in this manner place a high stress on your body and can be potentially dangerous if your body is not ready for it, or if it is done incorrectly. It is a great form of training to improve your speed and explosiveness. The ideal repetition number for power training is six reps per set, and again three sets per exercise.
Strength Endurance is a lower intensity form of resistance training and can be used to serve as an introduction to resistance training or even a form of cross-training to get your heart pounding in a circuit. Repetition range for strength endurance training is generally 15 reps and above, obviously using a lighter load. Getting through four or more sets of this should be your aim.
So, based on your goals, find which form of resistance training is going to be best suited to you, and start getting the results you really want.